Head-Fi.org › Forums › Misc.-Category Forums › Music › Jam Band Newbie needs neutral advice
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Jam Band Newbie needs neutral advice

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
I've been listening to Phish and Umphrey's McGee recently, but I have no idea about the jam band scene and would like some advice. It turns out that all the fans of these bands hate all the other bands and the other bands' fans, so trying partisan forums looks like a non-starter. Can someone help me get some sense of what The Disco Biscuits, moe., Gov't Mule, Widespread Panic are all about without, under any circumstances, using the words sick or sucks? Just a basic Jam Band 101 would be sooo helpful right now.
post #2 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sordel View Post
I've been listening to Phish and Umphrey's McGee recently, but I have no idea about the jam band scene and would like some advice. It turns out that all the fans of these bands hate all the other bands and the other bands' fans, so trying partisan forums looks like a non-starter. Can someone help me get some sense of what The Disco Biscuits, moe., Gov't Mule, Widespread Panic are all about without, under any circumstances, using the words sick or sucks? Just a basic Jam Band 101 would be sooo helpful right now.
The course really starts with the Dead, circa 1968-74; maybe with a little '70-'73 allman brothers band mixed in.
post #3 of 37
Very true. Jam band fans are quite elitist and very polarized in opinion. Just like gratefulshrink, I say start with early Dead (LOTS of material to sift through) and work your way from there. The term "Jam Band" is kind of like "Jazz", in that, just saying "I like jam band music" doesn't really say much because two jam bands can sound VERY different. Some steer towards psychedelia, some towards bluegrass and other even towards Drum n Bass/Electronic.

Furthermore, there are a lot of musical acts that play the same festivals as the jam bands, yet I would NEVER consider them jam bands. They just happened to be enjoyed by most people that also enjoy jam bands.

Personally, I think a lot of it is pretty sophomoric (well, newer stuff anyways). Lots of really bad stuff to wade through to find some truly worthwhile jems.

Bands that have material that I enjoy:
Grateful Dead
Phish
Trampled By Turtles
STS9
Bela Fleck
Bassnectar
Lotus
Sam Bush
Tim O'Brien

PS - As far as Widespread Panic, they are the only Jam band that I specifically dislike
post #4 of 37
I guess now's a good time to ask... What makes a band a "jam band?"

Song length? Stylistic variety? Propensity for soloing? Lyrical content?
post #5 of 37
lack of focus and rehearsal time.
post #6 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kunuggs View Post
Very true. Jam band fans are quite elitist and very polarized in opinion. Just like gratefulshrink, I say start with early Dead (LOTS of material to sift through) and work your way from there.
Ah, I should have prefaced by saying that The Grateful Dead is pretty much conquered territory for me, since I own, and have actually listened to, most of the boxed sets. (I'm also set for Zappa and the Allmans, FWIW.) I'm more interested in the latest generations and, as I began, I'm pretty well sorted with Phish, but I don't see how the others "fit in": because Phish embraced everything from bluegrass to jazz, to funk, to reggae, to hard rock, I don't want to end up wasting time chasing a band that picked up influences that don't interest me (such as funk, reggae and bluegrass). It's more the jazz/rock/prog stuff that interests me.

From what I hear of the Disco Biscuits, their stuff is mainly trance electronica, which wouldn't interest me in the slightest. I love the King Crimson influence on Umphrey's McGee, but I'd like to know what jam bands can really open up a song rather than simply extending it.

Oh, and grawk, you missed the most important one: inability to sing. Seriously, though, if you think that jam bands are underrehearsed you've been listening to the wrong jam bands.
post #7 of 37
Let's see, I've seen the grateful dead, phish, widespread panic, aru, dave matthews band, galactic, string cheese incident, strangefolk, and maybe another 50 more...

They all start out sounding good, well prepared, and interesting. Then things get out of control, and rehearsal is too much work, and besides, the fans are all high, and don't care, so why bother. Then things deteriorate quickly.
post #8 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by grawk View Post
Let's see, I've seen the grateful dead, phish, widespread panic, aru, dave matthews band, galactic, string cheese incident, strangefolk, and maybe another 50 more...

They all start out sounding good, well prepared, and interesting. Then things get out of control, and rehearsal is too much work, and besides, the fans are all high, and don't care, so why bother. Then things deteriorate quickly.
I don't want to take this thread in that direction, to be honest: I'm more interested in what might be worth seeking out than why jam bands go wrong over time. I'll admit that you have the experience on which to base your comments, and that everything that I know about The Grateful Dead, Phish and The Disco Biscuits suggests that these bands eventually got lazy, but Phish must have been very well rehearsed at their peak.

Tell me more, though, about who starts off "sounding good, well prepared, and interesting". That sounds more what I'm looking for ...
post #9 of 37
I can wholeheartedly recommend phish 93-95, aru, early moe., dave matthews pre-rca, bela fleck and the flecktones when howard levy was still in the band, and any single widspread panic show from 1992. I've been told that widespread with jimmy herring is good, too.

Allman Brothers from post '00 is probably worth listening to, as well.

Gov't Mule with allen woody (pre 8/16/00) is spectacular, but not a jam band
post #10 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by grawk View Post
I can wholeheartedly recommend phish 93-95,
Check!
Quote:
Originally Posted by grawk View Post
aru
Never heard of them!
Quote:
Originally Posted by grawk View Post
early moe.
Thanks, will investigate
Quote:
Originally Posted by grawk View Post
dave matthews pre-rca
Have Listener Supported and the Luther College/Tim Reynolds album (neither of which rocked my world) but if you think that I really should ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by grawk View Post
bela fleck and the flecktones when howard levy was still in the band
Thought that was bluegrass ... thanks, will investigate on YouTube
Quote:
Originally Posted by grawk View Post
any single widspread panic show from 1992
Thanks, will investigate
Quote:
Originally Posted by grawk View Post
Allman Brothers from post '00 is probably worth listening to, as well.
Probably have enough of them, tbh.
Quote:
Originally Posted by grawk View Post
Gov't Mule with allen woody (pre 8/16/00) is spectacular, but not a jam band
Thanks, will investigate
post #11 of 37
ARU = Col Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit, the best "jam" band to ever play. Bruce Hampton, Oteil & Kofi Burbridge, Jimmy Herring, Jeff Sipes (Apt Q258). In a word, spectacular. At their prime, Jimmy got offered the Allmans spot and turned them down cold.
post #12 of 37
I've always enjoyed earlier String Cheese Incident stuff, back when they stuck to more bluegrass roots. Their latter live discs got a little too weird for me. And like someone said before Gov't Mule really isn't considered a jam band but I absolutely love Warren Haynes's vocals and guitar.
post #13 of 37
Don't let grawk get you down, he's a grouch and an elitist jam band fan.
post #14 of 37
You benefit from that
post #15 of 37
Try out a band from NH called Percy Hill. In a perfect music world they would have been huge- but alas too much talent and not enough selling out.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Music
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Misc.-Category Forums › Music › Jam Band Newbie needs neutral advice